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Penn State Men’s Soccer Ranked No. 19 In United Soccer Coaches Poll

For the first time all year, Penn State men’s soccer is ranked.

The Nittany Lions debuted in this edition of the United Soccer Coaches poll at No. 19. This week, the team drew Maryland 2-2 at Ludwig Field and secured the No. 2 spot in the Big Ten.

It certainly took a long time for Jeff Cook’s team to enter the nation’s top 25, despite being amongst the elite in the Big Ten, one of the NCAA’s premier conferences.

The Nittany Lions currently trail only a dominant Indiana team in the conference. Based on a 7-1 record, the Hoosiers were given a No. 6 evaluation by United Soccer Coaches. Elsewhere, Michigan dropped below the Nittany Lions for the first time all year to No. 20 following a loss to last-placed Wisconsin this weekend.

At the top of the poll, Pittsburgh rose to the No. 1 spot for the first time all year. The Panthers are followed closely by No. 2 Georgetown and No. 3 Clemson, the latter of whom led the poll in every edition until now. Wake Forest and Stanford round out the top five.

The ranking goes a long way in Penn State’s NCAA Tournament hopes. Due to COVID-19, the NCAA cut the men’s soccer tournament field to 36 from its typical 48. This limits at-large berths to under 15 teams, a harsh reality that makes virtually every squad in the nation a “bubble team.”

The United Soccer Coaches poll won’t be exactly the same as the final tournament field, but national recognition is vital nonetheless for any team, no matter how late. Conventional wisdom would say that the Nittany Lions’ resume is enough to be placed into the field of 36, but the lack of a national ranking definitely made a negative impact — until now.

Penn State will play Ohio State in the Big Ten quarterfinals on Saturday to kick off the postseason. If the Nittany Lions win, they would advance to the final week of the Big Ten Tournament and play either Michigan or Michigan State. They could potentially face Indiana in the championship on April 17, after having canceled the regular season meeting due to COVID-19.

Selection for the NCAA Tournament will be announced on Monday, April 19.

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About the Author

Otis Lyons

Otis is a sophomore majoring in print journalism and is one of Onward State's associate editors. He lives just north of San Francisco, and is a diehard San Jose Earthquakes fan. Feel free to send over your soccer hot takes to his twitter @otisnlyons1 and instagram @otislyons

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